Sidewalk Witness

A young pro-lifer finds her voice outside Mississippi’s only abortion center.

As pro-life sidewalk counselors call out through the black screening that interlaces the fence, encouraging pregnant women to protect their babies, the escorts try to drown them out with boom boxes. “They don’t want the ladies to hear us,” explains Statham. “They try to put up as much resistance as they can.”

 

JACKSON, Miss.—The Jackson Women’s Health Organization stretches across a corner of prime real estate in a fashionable neighborhood in Mississippi’s capital city. Painted a loud-and-proud pink, the stucco structure could easily pass for anything but what it really is—the only remaining abortion center in the state.

But it is an abortion center, and just after sunrise on weekday mornings stoic-faced employees drive through the gate. A security guard sits down in a plastic lawn chair at the edge of the entrance. Volunteers wearing neon pink vests emblazoned with the words “pro-choice clinic escort” chat in the parking lot. Nearby, a trio of Christians pray and pace the sidewalk.

When a silver Ford F-350 rolls up and deposits the first appointment of the day, the pro-life counselors call out: “That’s a beautiful baby. Hey, ma’am, please don’t do this. Will you please just take this brochure? It has our contact information on it.”

The youngest voice belongs to 21-year-old Sarah Statham, a petite blonde who works part time in a medical billing office in the suburbs. Today, though, she’s outside the abortion center, carrying a worn ESV Bible and a backpack filled with tracts. She’s hoping to save babies’ lives: “They say that this is the darkest place in Mississippi. It’s a fantastic place to come and share the gospel and give hope to people, to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves, to be a voice for the voiceless.”

Statham’s part-time schedule means she’s able to participate when other sidewalk counselors can’t: “I’m available, so why not come and be a part of something like this?”

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